Is Your Data Storage HIPAA Compliant?
Now is a time when more and more healthcare records are being stored online and in the cloud. While that may seem self-evident if you work in the healthcare industry, what’s not as obvious is the need to be even more vigilant about remaining in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Why do you have to be even more vigilant? Because storing patient information online and in the cloud can have inherent risks you can’t control, risks you may have to pay for if your patients’ information gets into the wrong hands.
As a healthcare professional, you know that your field often requires you to sort through a tremendous amount of sensitive personal information. Because you work with sensitive patient data, it’s vital for you to use a storage system that’s compliant with HIPAA and keeps your stored patient data secure, accessible, sharable and confidential.
What Patient Information Is Protected by HIPAA?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created HIPAA to protect patient information, provide rights for patients to access their medical records and offer safeguards for healthcare professionals and business entities. While that’s the case, HIPAA doesn’t protect all kinds of information.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the data that HIPAA protects is limited to individually identifiable health information. This kind of data includes details about a patient’s past, current and future physical and mental well-being. It also includes information about a patient’s care, the person’s payments and identifying data like their race or gender.
If you accidentally or deliberately share protected patient information with someone who shouldn’t have access to it, it can hit you in the pocketbook. Every HIPAA violation can cost a covered person or business entity up to $50,000 for each occurrence.
To avoid hefty fines, it’s vital for you to ensure your data storage system is able to satisfy HIPAA’s rigorous privacy requirements. To see if your storage system is HIPAA compliant, it’s wise to hire an expert who’s familiar with all of HIPAA’s requirements to evaluate your data storage system.
Is Cloud Storage HIPAA Compliant?
Increasingly, many healthcare providers are turning to the cloud to store their sensitive data. Cloud storage is an attractive storage option because its storage space is limitless and it allows people to access the information they need to treat a patient from anywhere if they have the appropriate credentials. Cloud storage also enables healthcare professionals to provide care efficiently under any circumstances.
If you’re going to use cloud storage, it’s important for you to know that things have changed a bit in recent years. As of 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services considers cloud storage providers to be business associates that are bound by HIPAA just like the people and entities that render healthcare are. This means that a cloud storage provider must also be HIPAA compliant if it’s going to store data from an organization that must abide by HIPAA.
Buy Data Storage from SANDirect
If you’re looking for storage technologies for your healthcare organization, we encourage you to look through our menu of data storage systems. As you’ll see, our data storage solutions are affordable and designed to keep even the most sensitive information safe and secure. To learn more about the data storage technology we offer or to buy data storage, contact SANDirect today.